ApprehensionsGetting sick is what I am apprehensive about in terms of this trip along with many other things. Different people who have traveled to Costa Rica in the past tell me that the mosquitos are bad over there. One disease you may get from the mosquito bite in particular is the Dengue Fever. The disease causes flu like symptoms like fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and pain in the eyes, muscles and joints and these symptoms stay for about a week. There is no current cure or vaccine yet so there is no type of shot to get prior to the trip, you can only rely on bug repellent. I will learn to get over this apprehension by just going and forgetting about it because ultimately there's nothing I can do. Another apprehension I have about the trip is just being away, I like being away; but I tend to think about the worse case scenarios. I’ve been on a plane before but I’ve always had a fear of the plane crashing. Its rare but you never know what could happen; Statistics prove that it’s very unlikely it will happen, in fact there were no airline plane crashes in the year 2017 and it was the busiest year ever. I will get over these apprehension by just forgetting about them and enjoying the plane ride to Costa Rica.
Family Values Family is the most important thing in Costa Rica. Friends, work, and any other commitments, come second to family. This is because families are tight knit. Growing up in Costa Rica, you would probably live with your grandparents, parents, siblings, and even cousins. Your cousins feel like both your best friends and your siblings. Costa Rican families there spend all of the time they can together, often living at home into their twenties and thirties, if they haven’t gotten married. Weekends are spent home with your family rather than out with friends because they are focused on keeping a close family bond. They like to live with their whole family in unity. Things that we would see as embarrassing, like holding hands with your parents or kissing them on the cheek, are normal throughout teenage years. For family rules/chores, kids help out a lot at home. They do many of the chores and they are responsible for looking after their younger cousins and siblings. They will rock them to sleep, walk them to the bus stop, and play games with them to keep them occupied. Marriage is traditional, and often happens at a younger age. Family traditions are not like they are here in the US, but it is what makes them close knit.
Wow, super interest! Good Job!
EcotourismEcotourism is a place that attracts tourists because of it's exotic, frequently threatened, natural environments. Tourists want to travel to these beautiful environments to observe wildlife, support conservation efforts, and participate in service work. An example of ecotourism that we will encounter while we’re in Costa Rica is a rainforest. While in the rainforest, we will not damage any of it and will be cautious not to disturb the wildlife. In addition, we will observe it's gorgeous scenery and appreciate Costa Rica’s landscape. Another example of ecotourism that we will come across is when we visit Tortuga Island and the volcano. At the island we will have the chance to swim and do other fun activities while getting to enjoy the natural environment while also making sure we are taking care of it.Ecotourism is good for Costa Rica socially because it brings people together allowing them to have a good time and look at scenery that can’t be seen anywhere else; at the same time people get to value the natural beauty of Costa Rica’s environment while making sure they protect it. The tourists get the opportunity to do so many fun and unique things like hiking in the rainforest, swimming at the beach, and visiting the volcano. Not only is ecotourism socially beneficial but it is also great for the economy. Costa Rica doesn’t have to spend as much money trying to conserve the wildlife and the environment due to ecotourism. It is great for the environment too because it helps preserve biodiversity and prevents plants and species from extinction. Overall, ecotourism spreads the important message of keeping the environment healthy and protected but also provides economic opportunities and social benefits.
Apprehensions About the TripAn apprehension I have about the trip would be accidentally offending someone. We have talked about how Costa Ricans are different culturally. I know that I am used to doing things the way I have learned and I might do something wrong. [In the article we read about the Alicia Aviles helping out La Carpio through cultural education, some people involved in this didn’t ask the Costa Ricans for permission to make a new floor on a building and that upset them. They didn’t want the government to say anything and take away their right to live in that area.] We also talked about what an “Ugly American” looks like and our different cultural patterns. I don’t want to do anything that will upset the Costa Ricans because it is not my intention to do. One thing I will do is educate myself more about the culture. In class we read different articles and talk about the history of Costa Rica. We talk about what we should do and how we can be a respectful guest. Another thing I am working on is my Spanish. We practice every Thursday and it will help me communicate in Costa Rica. Many people like it when you try their language because it means you want to learn something their culture. I might mess up at times but will learn from my mistakes. Another thing I am nervous about is meeting new people. I am not a social person and I feel that Costa Rica will bring me out of my comfort zone a little. To overcome this I will learn to talk to people more. I am in a public speaking class where we talk a lot in front of people and this experience will help me in Costa Rica.
Costa Rican Family Values Although Costa Rican family life may seem very similar to our own, there are differences that make their culture unique. Costa Rican families are usually close to each other and many homes are multigenerational meaning that grandparents and grandkids are all live in one household. Kids usually live at home until they get married which unlike American culture has no social stigma attached to it. At times families may sometimes come into conflict, Costa Ricans value family unity and company. Since there are so many people in one household, it is common to see a fourteen year old caring for a younger sibling. They also take on the responsibility of helping their grandparents with chores and transporting them to where they need to be. It is not embarrassing in their culture to see teenagers holding their parents hands and kissing them goodbye going to school. The most traditional way to start a new family in Costa Rican society is marriage. Some believe that the traditional catholic-church marriage, is the only official marriage you can have. However other forms of marriages are done by lawyer or a non-catholic religious leader. Commonly large marriages only happen when the couple has been together publicly for more than three years. This idea is the same for catholic and civil marriages. In Costa Rica children are highly valued, parents usually have infinite patience for crying babies no matter where they are. Traditionally Costa Ricans start their families at a young age. However, now that women are pursuing higher education and out-of-homework they have started families later. Many households now depend on dual incomes, women are increasingly becoming breadwinners. When both parents are working they hire housekeepers to take care of younger kids. Nannies for daycare to school-aged kids is uncommon. Traditionally children are cared for by grandparents or other relatives.
Presidential Election We will have the unique experience of being in Costa Rica during a presidential election. The way that Costa Rica holds their election is different from the way we do it here in the states. They do everything manually just to make sure there is no cheating or switching of the votes. There are certified people who sit and gather everyone’s personal vote. The three candidates that are in the running in this year’s election are Fabricio Alvarado, Carlos Alvarado, and Antonio Alvarães. They each need to get a specific amount of votes. Overall if no one places in the top 40% they will take the two highest percentages. The two who have the highest percentages will be the ones to advance to the final round of voting. Fabrico has a percentage of 25.6 and that means he is in the lead for now. Carlos has a percentage of 20.6 which puts him right in the middle for the second highest percentage of votes. Lastly Antonio has a percentage of 19.2, he needs to get that up soon or it looks like he will have no choice but to drop out of the election. Each candidate is from a different party. Fabrico represents the National Restoration Party, Carlos represents the Front for Victory, Antonio represents the National Liberation Party. Costa Rica will elect a new president soon.
ApprenticeshipsI am overjoyed to be going to Costa Rica with City High, but I’m also extremely nervous as well. Some things I’m quite concerned about is the language barrier, the weather, and little critters. I am not 100% fluent in Spanish and I can barely pronounce words correctly so I know this is going to be something I’m going to struggle with. On the brighter side, everyone who is participating has been practicing their Spanish so we can communicate with the people of Costa Rica. Another thing that worries me is the heat and the weather. For half of the time, we will be doing service work for the community of Costa Rica and when I’m working a lot in warm weather, I tend to sweat a lot more than the average person. I just don’t want to overwork myself and pass out because of the heat. Our teachers are considerate and understanding people so I’m sure if they see that we need a break they’ll give us one. The biggest thing I am worried about for this trip is seeing bugs I’m not use to because I am petrified of insects and afraid that I might get an infection or become sick. I already have a fear of bugs like, spiders, moths, centipedes, grasshoppers, and the list goes on. For a part of the trip, we’re going to be in the rainforest so I’m terrified that bugs will get into our rooms or on us while we work. I have had bad experiences in the past dealing with bugs and they give me the chills which causes me to become even more anxious and uneasy. I think by the time we land in Costa Rica, all my worries will be out the window and I’ll only be focused on one thing, helping the community and the people of Costa Rica.
What is a team player?A team player is a person who helps people out in any way possible. Team players have lots of leadership and determination to get the activity done no matter how hard it is. Our team could be assigned to fix bridges that were damage from a recent hurricane. We also are prepared to pave the sidewalks in La Carpio. A team play should check with their group mates to see if they need any help with the work that they are doing. Not everybody gets along and especially when we’re doing hard work, it’s hard for people to get along. This is something that might prevent the group from achieving our goals.
What is a team player? A team player can work well with others and people know they can count on you. They are someone who's committed and it is never just about themselves. An example of service work a group might do is picking up garbage in a community. If everyone is supposed to be picking up trash it doesn’t mean one person doesn’t have to do anything and watch others work. They should for example, carry a garbage bag while another person picks the trash up. Something that can prevent a group from achieving a goal can be when everyone does what they want or when they try and do everything. This can be a problem because instead of people done their assigned roles or thinking they can do everything it creates conflict and all tasks may not be completed. Being a team player is very important because it shows you care and everyone contributes to the team.
What is a tean player?A team player is someone who contributes equally to the work done by a group of people. To be a team player, one must be willing to put in just as much work as other team members. One must also be able to set aside any problems they may have with that team member in order to get the job done. Whether this means getting along or working together, a good team player must always be able to work cooperatively with other team members. In Costa Rica, everyone is expected to be a team player. We may be expected to help pave roads; similar to what was done last year. Paving a road obviously isn’t easy and definitely requires more than one person to complete. To pave a road, different team members will be assigned different jobs so that the job gets done faster. Some team players may be assigned the role of laying the cement onto the roads while others may be in charge of smoothing out the pavement after the cement gets poured. In order to get the task done, everyone must be a team player and equally contribute to the job. You cannot have half the team working hard and the other half just slacking. Everyone must work together, otherwise, the task will not get done. Like I previously mentioned, paving a road is not a one to two person job because it requires a team. A team of hard workers willing to put all of their biases against one another aside to come together to complete the task. A team willing to work together to get the job done. A team always ready to help one another. A place we will be visiting in Costa Rica is the rainforest. While visiting, we will be assigned the task of cleaning up the trails in the rainforest. This is not a one person job so we will need to work as a group to get the job done. It’s safe to say that being a team player is always important. Whether you’re paving roads or playing a quick game of soccer, it’s always good to know you’ve got a team of other people who have your back.
iQué bueno verte de nuevo! An important part of understanding Costa Rica today is understanding Ecotourism. Put simply, it’s a country’s ability to use their organic geography and wildlife to attract visitors (native and foreign alike)There are quite a few examples of this kind of tourism. There’s endangered ecotourism, which focuses on viewing plants or animals that, as the name suggests, are rare or dwindling. There are national parks, set areas of wildlife accessible to the public. And in between, there are hundreds of other types of ecotourism locations.Many countries or states use their natural beauty to their advantage instead of destroying it. For example, the top five eco-touristic places in the world are Palu in Indonesia, Norwegia in Norway, Kerala in India, Kenya in Africa, and- would you look at that? Costa Rica! Ecotourism isn’t just good for keeping the environment in shape; it gives the hosted country money, and lots of it. There is an estimated eight BILLION visits to ecotourism spots per year. You read that right. That’s around the entire earth’s population, and that’s a low estimate! Ecotourism generates what is predicted to be six hundred billion dollars a year for the United States, and only around ten billion to upkeep these spots- some simple math can calculate that huge profit. Not only this, but in Costa Rica, around half of the average foreign tourists money spent on a trip there well go towards eco-touristic spots, earning around two billion American dollars a year. That helps the upkeep of the beautiful nature there!
ApprehensionsI am super excited to go to Costa rica, but I have some apprehensions about the trip. I am worried about the language barrier. We have been learning Spanish at school, but obviously I will not be fluent in spanish. It could be hard to communicate with and understand the people if I don’t know some of the words that they are using. I don’t want to offend them or their culture by misunderstanding what they are asking me or if i don’t know how to answer their questions. We will have a tour guide that speaks both English and Spanish, but things could still be difficult. Another one of my apprehensions is that I am going to not be able to use my phone or social media accounts. I am always using my phone to snapchat, text, and keep up with my instagram account. It makes me feel connected to society. It will be hard for me to go without it. I will not have service or wifi, and I will be busy with service work and enjoying a new environment. I won’t have time, even if I wanted to, to keep up with what many of my friends are up to here in the US. I know that I should be living in the moment, but I’m used to checking my social media accounts throughout the day to keep up with everyone else’s lives. It will be weird for a few days, but at the end of the trip I will be glad that I went without using my phone. Knowing that I was fully present and able to enjoy my surroundings and the people there with me, rather then a virtual world.
Quebrada ArroyoOur first service work will take place in Quebrada Arroyo. Quebrada Arroyo is a small village located in the mountains above Manuel Antonio National Park. The area was settled over fifty years ago by a small group of struggling pioneering families. The people benefited from the rich soil of the land and began planting vanilla plants; after some time a pest struck, killing the plants. Some villagers decided to stay on the land to help preserve it, so they decided ecotourism would help spread awareness to protect the rain forest. With the help of the United Development Program, the community began to build cabins, bridges, and bought many acres of land. The people of Quebrada Arroyo have been working to protect more than eighty acres of rainforest in the region. Now, many of the plants and flowers can be used for food and medicine. There are plenty of amazing natural swimming pools and even a two hundred foot waterfall. We will even be going across a four hundred foot suspension bridge which will be quite a challenge. After our service work, we will be heading to Manuel Antonio National park. Manuel Antonio National Park is a tropic lowland rainforest and beach. It was created in 1972 to help preserve the rich rainforest, beaches, and to protect the many endangered species that live there. It is internationally recognized as being one of the most biodiverse parks in the world.
What is a Team Player?A team player is someone who is always looking out for their teammates. It is someone who is making sure the team is working together. Demonstrating Leadership, and making people look up to you as a role model. An attribute that a team player has to have is leadership; every single person on the team should be able to lead the team no matter what. We might be working on making roads somewhere in Costa Rica and we need to work together to make those roads for the people to walk on. We will be involved by helping the community in some type of way no matter if it’s building houses or roads of some sort. Some people will be assigned different roles if we are working on roads for Costa Rica. Some people might be paving the road, some will be putting the pavement down on the ground, others maybe communicating with the people of Costa Rica. What might stop of from achieving our goals in Costa Rica will probably be people not trying to cooperate with one another because of stubborness. Another reason why we might not achieve the goals we want is if people aren’t listening to the tasks at hand.
Ecotourism Ecotourism is when responsible tourists travel to natural areas that preserve the environment, supports the well-being of locals and involves education and interpretation. These areas that the tourist tend to visit are of ecological interest, meaning they are exotic and often threatened natural environments. By doing this, the tourist should be able to be culturally and environmentally aware of the place, while enjoying and appreciating the nature. The people participating should leave little to no behavioral, socially, physically or psychologically impact. And finally, they should be respectful to the locals and the indigenous people of the area all while learning and providing a positive experience for everyone. An example of ecotourism that we will encounter in Costa Rica will be eating lunch in one of the locals’ homes. At an ecotourist area, we have to be respectful and not complain because we are their guests. Another example of us being involved with ecotourism would be us learning and experiencing a new culture; ecotourism is about education. Our Costa Rica trip should be a positive experience for us and the locals of Costa Rica. Ecotourism helps Costa Rica economically, it brings in people willing to spend money to hike in the rainforests. It also helps Costa Rica environmentally because people that are apart of ecotourism sometimes volunteer to help the environment. But, if the amount of ecotourism increases dramatically, it can hurt the environment that tourists are visiting.
Irazú Volcano National ParkOn day six of our Costa Rica trip, we will be visiting Irazú Volcano National Park to participate in mask making and various other activities. Stretching about 7.7 mi², Irazú Volcano National Park is a province of Cartago. It is a reforestation site, thanks to a local project, because of damage done by eruptions. The forest within the park, is filled with many native and exotic species of plant like oaks and alder. These species protect the watershed of the Reventado River. The last eruption from the volcano was in 1994, but it’s most known eruption was in the 1960’s. These chronic eruptions terrorized many Cartago and San José civilians with it’s ash, smoke polluted air, and red-hot boulders that were sent rolling down the sides of the volcano. Today, all that is found on the sides of the volcano are potatoes, onions, and multiple other vegetables. The Irazú Volcano is the highest active volcano in Costa Rica standing at 11,260 feet. It is, also known for the Diego de la Haya crater. This is a popular attraction, that contains a green lake that spans 300 meters. Overall, I cannot wait to go there because I've always admired volcanoes.
Family Values and Traditions in Costa RicaFamily values and traditions are very important to Costa Ricans. Costa Rican households are very tight knit. Often, multiple generations live within the same house, such as grandparents, parents and children. Also, the children traditionally live in their family home until they are married. Due to the close relationships Costa Rican families have with each other, children grow up best friends with their siblings or cousins and even help take care of younger siblings. The children in the families are valued by older generations as well. Complete strangers will often offer to help parents with their young children if they believe they’re struggling. Costa Ricans have traditionally started families at young ages, but as time progresses, women have been seeking higher educations and sustainable careers, causing the family-starting age to increase. Typical family roles in a Costa Rican household are normally upheld. The mother takes care of the children at home while the father works. Though this is becoming less the case, it’s still a common thing. The children usually help around the house like the mother. Also, Costa Ricans tend to want the best education for their children. Family is cherished in Costa Rican culture.
ApprehensionsI really appreciate the opportunity to go to Costa Rica, but I do have a few apprehensions about being on the trip. For example, I really don’t like planes. I know that statistics prove that planes are the safest ways of transportation, but I’m not buying it. It is way too high in the sky to be “safe.” But I’ve never been on a plane, so maybe I’m just being dramatic, but it is still an unnerving thought for me. I don’t know if there is much I can do to overcome this fear. I don’t know I’m claustrophobic, so the plane ride will be a fun way to find out. I am also going to get gum because it helps for the ride. Besides the plane ride, I have two genuine concerns for the tripThe first thing I am nervous about is the language barrier. I mentioned in my bio post that I am not a very good Spanish speaker, and even though I’ve been trying to do better I still feel that I will not be fluent enough for the trip. I know that I will not be a Spanish expert by the time the trip comes along, but I feel that I am not learning as much as I should. This is a fear of mine because I just do not like the idea that I can’t speak fluent enough Spanish to have a decent, real conversation with a native Spanish speaker.I don’t want to have a conversation with someone, then have no idea what they are saying afterwards.The second thing that I am nervous about is disrespecting the culture. I am told that Costa Ricans will not directly tell me that I am being rude, so if I am being an “Ugly American” I won’t even know. I would hate to be annoying to the kind people of Costa Rica, so I am going to be on my best behavior. Unlike my plane fear, I know what I can do about this apprehension. I just need to be aware at all times, and make sure to be engaged in all activities. Those are my two big apprehensions about this trip.
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Tortuga Island Imagine a small island off of the coast of Peninsula de Nicoya, with clear blue waters and fresh air. This is Tortuga Island, which we will be visiting. It is about an hour and half boat ride from Manuel National park. Tortuga Island is shaped like a turtle, hence the name. But not only can Turtles be found on the coast of the island, but also dolphins, humpback whales, and seabirds. Inland scarlet macaws, monkeys, and peccaries can be found on the island. Some of the most popular activities on the island are swimming, hiking, volleyball, and snorkeling. Snorkeling is the main attraction on Tortuga island, because this is where you can see angel fish, parrotfish, sea anemone, starfish, white tip reef sharks, octopi, and of course turtles. What makes the island the perfect place for us to end our trip, is the beautiful white sandy beaches, the bright blue waters, and the gorgeous palm trees. This is going to be an amazing and fun way to end our trip!
Family Life Family life in Costa Rica has many different rules than the traditional American family. Costa Rican families live in the same house with both their intermediate and their extended family. A big difference between Costa Rican households and American households is the amount of families that live in the house. It is very common for Costa Rican families to live either right next to or as close as possible to their other family members. Families are very close, in both living space and personally. Because they all share so much time together Costa Rican siblings become some close and most would say that their sister or brother is their best friend. In Costa Rica it is very common, just like the traditional American family, for each family member to have a role. The mother stays home and cares for children while the father works. Children take care of the household chores and help out their mother. There are still common gender roles that both Costa Rican and American share.
How To Be A Team Player For the Costa Rica Trip we already have a mindset of being able to work with each other. To be a team player can be defined in many different ways, but the basic things are being able to communicate, adapting quickly, being genuine, and being reliable. Communicating with your team members is important because they need to know what your doing and you need to know what they are doing. If you need help then you need to ask for it instead of letting yourself suffer. Being genuine is the key. If you notice that one of your team members aren’t meeting expectations because maybe they are tired or something may be wrong, go lend them a hand. That person may not want to ask or seem like a burden, so just be genuine and considerate by taking the initiative and helping them out. Adapting quickly just makes things easier for everyone. While in Costa Rica we may have to do something that was not originally on the schedule but instead of complaining we have to just be able to do what they ask of us. Complaining or getting frustrated will not only make things hard on you but it stresses everyone out. Lastly, you have to be reliable because each person has a role and a responsibility so your team members are going to rely on you to get your part done. Just be aware of your contribution and how you can help benefit others, that is what makes a great team player.
Eco Tourism Ecotourism is a term you are probably not familiar with if you are from United States because it is not commonly practiced here. Ecotourism is tourism involving visiting exploited natural environments in effort to support conservation. While we are in Costa Rica, we will experience this during the work we do in the rain forest. The people that live in the rain forest built cabins and dining areas so that tourist can visit. Ecotourism helps both the rain forest and the economy because it helps rebuild all the past destruction of the environment while also providing a steady income. Rebuilding the rain forest may involve is planting trees in places in the rain forest that were wiped out to grow crops such as sugar cane. Ecotourism is a useful strategy that positively impacts not only the environment but the economy of the area as well.
ApprehensionsI am extremely excited to be going on this trip but I do have a few apprehensions. My first and biggest one being the heat. I wear a scarf called a hijab that tends to make me pretty hot during warm to hot weather. In Costa Rica, we’re going to be doing tons of long and hard service work. The weather there is expected to be pretty hot as well so I’m a bit nervous about having to wear my hijab while working in hot weather for hours at a time. To work on this, I’ve decided to bring lighter colored scarves with me on the trip and buy a few sport hijabs that’ll keep me more comfortable while working. In addition to that, I’ve always hated bugs which is why I’m afraid of seeing some of them over in Costa Rica. There's honestly no real strategy for getting over my fear of bugs so I don’t think I’ll be getting over that anytime soon. However, I could work on worrying a little less about that and paying better attention to the fact that I’m in an entirely new country learning completely new things. The last fear I have is trying new foods. I’ve always been a picky eater so I’m a bit hesitant about trying the new foods there. Someone mentioned to me that the main dish they had while in Costa Rica was rice and beans which I love so I’ve become less nervous about that. Picky eater or not, I do plan on trying all the new foods offered to me in Costa Rica. All in all I’d say my apprehensions for this trip are pretty minimal. I plan on working on those fears so that I’ll be able to enjoy the trip for what it has to offer.
Team PlayerA team player is a person who not only thinks about the other people assisting them, they also act upon it. They give all of their effort to the task they're given, so that it would benefit everyone. To be a team player during a group endeavor, a person has to have a selfless trait, and be willing to put someone else before him/herself. Patience is another great attribute to have. Without it, the team is distracted from completing the task at hand.In Costa Rica, we will be tested by our teamwork, when we dig water lines/ditches and pave roads.We might be assigned different tasks while there, forcing us to think on the spot. This could affect our progress, but if we're a team player it will not. When a team player is faced with a challenge, they find a positive and beneficial way to overcome it. As team, we will succeed in Costa Rica.
Apprehensions An apprehension I have about the trip is the food. I am a very picky eater, I don’t like beans and I’m not the biggest fan of rice since it tastes so bland. I have this apprehension because in Costa Rica the meals are rice, beans and a meat, depending on what’s on the meat, how it’s cooked and what kind of meat it is I’ll probably be picky. Not only that but, there are not second options so I can’t go to the store and get something I’d like. Since we are doing service work in Costa Rica I need to eat. A strategy that I have to overcome this apprehension is to eat more meals like what I will have in Costa Rica, which I’ve been trying to commit to. Occasionally, three times a week, I eat a meal with rice, a small serving of beans and a meat. I know that the food isn’t the same as what we are eating in Costa Rica but it is good enough.Another apprehension that I have about the trip is the service work. I’m not very active which is one of the reasons why I wanted to go on the trip. I need to become more active but tend to get tired easier. I’m scared that during service work and hikes I’ll slow down and give up. I don’t want to give up on anything during the trip. Since I’m worried about this, I’ve been doing things slightly different out of school. I get off a bus stop earlier so that I have to walk an extra block to school. During the weekends I’ve been walking around my neighborhood more than usual and walking with friends to places. If there is a chance that I can walk while the weather is nice, I’ll do it.
EcotourismEcotourism is tourism directed toward exotic, often threatened, natural environments, especially to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife. So basically a nation or territory that makes its natural environment pleasing to the eye or putting something in a area for people to see, without harming. For example, in Costa Rica, the rainforest economist put in a zip line in order for people to still be able to experience the scenic sights while not leaving behind anything that could put that specific environment in danger. That would still be considered ecotourism, but more specifically it would be called adventure-ecotourism because you’re actually going on a adventure. Another example, in South Africa what the country did was offer a eco-tour for preserving endangered wildlife. So, people would come there on a trip with wildlife conservation organizations and they would spend their vacation being educated on the endangered species of the land while actually taking an active role in conserving these species. So, while we are actually in Costa Rica one thing we will be able to do is pave roads in La Carpio which is a squatting ground that Nicaraguan immigrants have to come to settle on. That would be classified as ecotourism because it will make dirt roads look more appealing and more people will be more enthusiastic and happy about coming out to the streets. In a way, yes, paving a road is conserving the environment because is it making the community less polluted with dust. But, also in a way it can harm the environment with harmful fumes and chemicals being released into the environment and maybe killing off some species that are primary consumers. This brings up the question is ecotourism always safe for the environment?
La CarpioLa Carpio is one of the poorest places in Costa Rica because of the harsh condition and state it is in. It is one of the places that we will be doing our service work. La Carpio is located almost right in the middle of Costa Rica now San Jose. La Carpio has Mediterranean climates and the temperature around 70 to 81 degrees. The area can have rain occasionally, up to 3 times a month. The land is 296 square kilometers long and the community began back in the 1990s. La Carpio has the population of about 36,000 people and is located between two rivers. That may sound like a low population but it is a lot.La Carpio faces overpopulation problems because of the immigrants that go there. This can cause families to be forced to move out into hazardous zones. Most of the people that live in La Carpio are refugees from Nicaragua. Most Costa Ricans hate Nicaraguans because they believe that is why La Carpio in the poor state that it is in. The people who live in there have to sleep in dirty shacks. The government wants it to be that way so that it could make the residents more or fewer squatters with a fright that their homes could be devastated at any time. They don’t want to go in and part help the city and change the environment they live in. This is why we are going in to help them fix their roads and overall help rebuilds the community.
San JoseSan Jose is the capital of Costa Rica and also largest. It’s the 94th costliest city in the world. San Jose is 17.2 square miles large and home to nearly 350,000 people. This means there’s about 20,000 people per square mile. The gross domestic product is 74.9 billion U.S. dollars, averaging to about $15,500 per person. San Jose is the social, political and economic center of Costa Rica. The biggest cash crop in San Jose during the colonial times was tobacco. San Jose was founded in 1738, at the beginning of the westward expansion from Cartago. The city became independent from Spain in 1821. During the 19th century, the biggest cash crop in demand was coffee, so they became a coffee exporter. Today, San Jose is a modern city with Spanish and North American architecture. The majority of San Jose’s population, however, live out in the suburbs, and not in the city. Even though the population in the city is dense, over a million people travel through the city’s centre every day. San Jose is commercially the most important part of the country.
2018 Costa Rica ElectionThe presidential election in Costa Rica is one of the six elections occurring in Latin America this year. Over 3.3 million Costa Ricans are registered to vote. Costa Ricans will vote in a general election for their next president, first and second vice presidents, and 57 Legislative Assembly members on February 4, 2018. In order for presidential candidates to win the election they must win 40 percent of the votes. If no candidate reaches 40 percent, a runoff between the top two candidates will be held on April first. Runoffs are a recent occurrence in Costa Rica. During their election in 2014, more than a third of voters were undecided and had a general lack of enthusiasm for the candidates which lead to a runoff. It is expected that the 2018 election will go into a runoff too. Whether there is a runoff or not, a winner will be declared and the president and vice presidents will be inaugurated on May 8. Another interesting fact to mention is how this years election in Costa Rica may improve gender equality in Congress. Between 2014-2018 there was 20 women and 37 men in congress but it is predicted that the number of women will increase hopefully creating a congress that consists of about the same amount of men as women.The top three candidates for the 2018 election are Antonio Álvarez Desanti, Juan Diego Castro, and Rodolfo Piza Rocafort. Candidate Desanti is from the National Liberation Party; this party has won 9 out of the past 16 elections. The issues he is focused on are countering narcotics, money laundering, infrastructure, and animal rights. He also has recently expressed how he wants to fight LGBT rights. Another candidate is Juan Diego Castro who is in the National Integration Party which is a much newer party. The issues that he is most concerned about are corruption and infrastructure. The third most popular candidate is Rodolfo Piza Rocafort who is in the Social Christian Unity Party and he recently entered the race. We will be in Costa Rica during their election. We will get to see campaign signs and might even hear Costa Ricans talking about the election. It is important that we don’t discuss any of our personal political beliefs with the Costa Ricans because we don’t want to offend them in any way. It's exciting that we will get to be there during their election and I hope that I will get to learn more about their government/politics.
There are quite a few things that I’m sure everybody is worried about and one that I have is the bugs. I have a hug fear of spiders, centipedes, beetles, anything like that and I know Costa Rica is full of them. I’m real scared about bugs/insects that may get into our room, especially if everybody doesn’t follow the “no food in rooms” rule. I’m sure I’ll be fine considering the “they’re more afraid of you than you are of them” saying but it’s still something I’m worried about. Another fear I have is communicating with new people in a language that I don’t speak well. Not a lot of English is spoken in Costa Rica so I’m afraid it’ll be hard to learn as much as I can while we’re down there. Although I’m worried about both, I won’t let them get in the way of this wonderful experience. This is not so much of a fear but I hope that I will be able to pull my weight on the trip such as doing as much service work as possible and keep in mind that this experience will be a challenge for everyone.
A Team Player A team player is someone who contributes to a group and also works well with others to succeed and accomplish goals. Some characteristics of a team player are they are committed, they understand their role, and they can collaborate well with others. These characteristics are also what a team player needs to contribute to a group endeavor. As a team player, you must be committed to your group which means you need to be all in for group activities and work. If your not committed, than the entire team will suffer. Another important characteristic is understanding your role in a group. No matter how big or how small your role is, whether your the leader or just a team member, your contribution and role to the group matters significantly. Without your help, the finished project won’t turn out the same. One last characteristic that a team player must have is collaborating with others. Collaborating with others isn’t only physically working together, it’s also about contributing new ideas to one another, supporting each other, and communicating well to build stronger bonds with your members. You must provide support and encouragement to others which will ultimately lead to a bigger goal.One example of service work our group might be involved in is paving a new street, pathway, or even building a small building for the community. Some roles that might be assigned to us while working on this project might be a bricklayer, cement mixer, and digger. In order for our service projects to be successful, we are going to have to work as one. We will have to become a united team to achieve our goals. Everyone has to commit to the group, respect the group, support the group, learn from the group, and most importantly, be a team player in the group.
Discomforts while travelingBeing a first time flyer I can already imagine the things that are going to make me a little uncomfortable when travelling. One mental example is the fear of flying itself. This is either because it might be your first time or because you are afraid of heights. To help with this you can try to get as comfortable as you can and maybe sit with someone who makes you feel safe. Another mental discomfort would be sitting next to strangers. You might have to sit in between two people you don’t know for a couple of hours. Personally strangers make me nervous but my friend Ricki reassured me that on the way there we might get to sit next to each other so I am not as worried. There are also some physical discomforts that go along with travelling like not having leg room. If you are tall this might be a problem for you and to help with this, maybe see if you can sit on the outside seat. This will give you a little more space to get comfortable. Lastly, ear popping might be another physically discomfort you might have when flying. This occurs when you are taking off and landing; my mother suggested to chew gum to avoid this. No matter what discomforts come your way, just know that they won’t last forever and try to enjoy the ride.
Costa Rican TraditionsOne topic that I was interested in learning more about would be the different dances that are traditional to their culture. The main dances that are performed are merengue, salsa, cumbia, and dub, which are all more traditional dances. Costa Ricans learn these dances at an early age making them accomplished dancers in life. There are celebrations such as the Punto Guanacasteco and La Cajeta where they will dance in their Costa Rican-themed costumes. The merengue can be considered one of the most popular Latin dances and can be heard everywhere. It has a two step beat that involves fast footwork and swaying hips. Salsa another popular dance that originated in Cuba and it involves quick but sensual movement. More experienced dancers will add in their own twists to keep it interesting. Cumbia, a dance originating in Colombia is one of Costa Rica’s favorite tropical rhythms. They made it their own, dancing a cumbia beat to the steps of the “swing criollo.” Most of these dances are typically lead by the men, but everyone has a great time dancing. Hopefully I can learn some of these dances.
My Apprehensions Apprehensions I have about going on the trip is being home sick. I have a fear of being home sick and out of my comfort zone because this will maybe be the first time I’ve ever been away from my family this long. A strategie I’m going to use is to just try and live in the moment. What I mean by this is to keep my mind clear of anything that I know will get in the way of my experience out of my head and enjoy what’s around me and being able to experience a new culture. Another apprehension I have about going is my fear of heights. I’m really nervous about getting on a plane because I never been on a plane before so being up in the air and knowing anything can happen kind’ve scares me. A strategie I use to get over this fear is to just also think positive thoughts. I think about being over the clouds and really seeing them close and realizing that the chance of any incident happening can be very rare. Even though I do have these apprehensions I will keep thinking happy thoughts and making sure that no matter what I will still be able to have the best experience.
Physical and Mental DiscomfortThe physical and mental discomfort that I will endure while on the trip I feel like I believe won’t be too bad. I like to travel and want to get out and do stuff. I am used to working in conditions like the service work we will experience in La Carpio because that is the type of work that I do on a daily basis. Mentally I don’t think I will find anything discomforting, I may be in a little bit of a culture shock because of the vast differences in the cultures. One thing that may be discomforting in the beginning is staying in a hostel, not because I have anything against them it only because I have never been in one. When I go to college I am going to try to study abroad and I heard from people that I know who study abroad that they stay in hostels while traveling because its cheap and convenient. I will be on an adrenaline rush as soon as we land. So, to conclude, no I don't believe there will be too much physical or mental discomfort.
Manuel Antonio National ParkWhile in Costa Rica, we will be visiting a place called Manuel Antonio National Park. Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most popular places within Costa Rica. The area has many beaches, palm trees, restaurants, and hotels surrounding the park. Manuel Antonio made it easier to access Costa Rica’s lowland rainforest. It was established as a national park in 1972. The park is the smallest national park in all of Costa Rica while still having a vast array of tropical plants and animals like the three-toed sloths and endangered white-faced capuchin monkeys. It also has a beautiful view of the blue sky and of the Pacific Ocean. The park is only about 170 km away from San Jose which is only 3 hours away from the city. This national park is one of the places we will be visiting on our trip to Costa Rica so I’m looking forward to experiencing this national park.
La Carpio It is currently day eight for our trip to Costa Rica , and we are finishing our last day of service work for the entire trip. This is our second day in La Carpio, which happens to be one of the poorest communities in Costa Rica. The people who live here come from all different places such as Nicaragua, Israel, America, and many other places all around the world. When you arrive the vibe in La Carpio is completely different than in San José. It feels more like a close community rather than a fast moving city like San Jose. The housing conditions are heartbreaking due to how they are built and how close they are to one another. The walls of their house are made out of thin metal boards and the homes are smaller than average size. Even through the struggle the people of La Carpio endure, they remain humble which made it even more inspiring for us to work. One of my favorite parts of this service work was seeing the tremendous work performed by the kids of the community. Their work ethic opened my eyes to the conditions of their life and made me realize that they will have to upkeep this skill for the rest of their lives. I was also able to understand that they have no choice but to work that hard given the circumstances of their life. Most kids in America will never understand this because the conditions of their life don’t permit them to do so. Overall the service work in La Carpio changed my outlook on life, and that is one lesson I will always hold near and dear to my heart.
How to be a team playerA team player is someone that tries to work together with others and listen to other people's thoughts and opinion. When we are all in one mind that makes us have the same goal and achieve them successfully. Each and every person is a building bock, which means that each and every person has to be in sync with each other and if one of us falls down then we all falls down. A team player needs to be helping, opened minded, and enthusiastic which can motivate other workers to do the same. This will cause no division or separation between members and make their work more and more efficient.Some of the things we have to do is carry cement bags and fill in roads and everyone has to pull in their own weight so that the agenda is a success. If a person starts to carry less than everybody else because that person doesn’t feel like it then that person is not being a team player because they are slowing everybody else process. This can even cause other people to do the same thing which is why we can’t just be team player but also role models as well. When people start to think only of themselves then that causes division which has cause us to not be a team. Team player look out for each other and make sure that all the need are met so that they can get the job done.